Hardik Pandya Set for Return to Mumbai Indians from Gujarat Titans in High-Stakes IPL Trade

Hardik Pandya’s potential move back to Mumbai Indians shakes up IPL trade dynamics in a record-breaking deal.

Reports indicate that Hardik Pandya is poised to depart Gujarat Titans and reunite with his former team, Mumbai Indians, where he commenced his IPL journey in 2015.

As per ESPNcricinfo, the trade involves an all-cash deal with Mumbai Indians offering INR 15 crore (approximately $1.8 million) as Hardik’s salary and an undisclosed transfer fee to Gujarat Titans. Hardik stands to receive up to 50% of the transfer fee.

Despite growing rumors, sources close to Gujarat Titans express concern about potentially losing Hardik after his influential performances over two stellar seasons. If the deal materializes, it could possibly mark the most substantial player trade in IPL history. However, neither franchise has officially commented on the trade yet.

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Hardik Pandya would become the third captain to be traded, following R Ashwin’s move from Punjab Kings to Delhi Capitals and Ajinkya Rahane’s transfer from Rajasthan Royals to Capitals in 2020.

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A major challenge for Mumbai Indians is their limited purse post the last auction, with a meager INR 0.05 crore (approximately $6000) remaining. To accommodate Hardik’s trade, Mumbai might need to release player(s) before the retention deadline, expiring on November 26 at 4 pm IST.

Hardik Pandya’s leadership led Gujarat Titans to victory in their debut IPL season in 2022 and secured a runner-up spot in 2023. His exceptional performance earned him Player of the Match in the final against Rajasthan Royals. Across two seasons, Hardik scored 833 runs in 30 innings with an average of 41.65 and a strike rate of 133.49, besides taking 11 wickets with an economy of 8.1. Presently, he’s recuperating from an ankle injury sustained during India’s ODI World Cup campaign.

Mumbai Indians served as the launchpad for Hardik’s IPL career, where he evolved into a top all-rounder. Starting as an uncapped player bought for INR 10 lakhs in 2015, he contributed significantly to Mumbai’s title-winning campaigns in 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2020.

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